Her mother, Carol Wilkerson of Thayer, made a "Breast Cancer Hope" quilt that was given away last month at the Thayer High School football field during the Oregon County American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
Robert's 9-month-old granddaughter, Gracetyn Warren, drew the winning name for the quilt from nearly 4,000 entries.
Dusty and Nancy Shaw of Thomasville were winners of the quilt. The Shaw family has a building at Ozarks Medical Center named after them for the work they have contributed to the community in the fight against cancer. The Shaw Medical Building houses the Cancer Treatment Center at OMC.
Dana Roberts has been involved with the local Relay for Life since its beginning in the county four years ago. She started as a member of the Victory Free Will Baptist Team. The past year she was a member of the Oregon County Courthouse Coalition Team.
Roberts is also a cancer survivor.
In October of 2004 Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer. "I had always worn the white shirt as a Relay for Life team member. I never thought about me wearing the purple shirt of a cancer survivor," Roberts said.
That is exactly how she found herself in May of last year -- in the purple shirt, bald at the Thayer football field as a breast cancer survivor.
Roberts had just completed six months of extensive chemotherapy because of her cancer.
She said she felt strongly about raising money locally for the American Cancer Society before she had cancer, and now she feels even stronger.
"They helped me so much. They have many wonderful programs for people struggling with cancer. They provided me with literature about the type of cancer I had. It told me what to expect during and after my treatments," Roberts said.
She said some of the funds raised by the Relay for Life go to help people buy gas while they are seeing doctors or taking treatments. She said they help buy tires so doctor and treatment appointments can be met.
"If staying overnight away from home is needed, the American Cancer Society will even get a list of the hotels in areas like Springfield that offer a reduced rate due to patients' circumstances," she said.
Roberts said she was very ill during her six months of treatments. "I told my husband Mack on one of the return trips home from the Shaw Medical Center in West Plains where I was taking my treatments that if I knew I was going to have to travel to Springfield to take treatments I probably would not have done it. I was too sick for the two-hour drive," Roberts said.
She said she remained working as Oregon County deputy collector in Jerry Richardson's office at Alton. She said Richardson was a good boss during her cancer and made things easier for her. She said she never missed work except for doctor appointments and treatments.
While Roberts was sick, her cousin, Sonya Bateman, of Phoenix, Ariz., sent Roberts mother in Thayer some breast cancer ribbon fabric. Wilkerson made the decision to make the "Breast Cancer Hope" quilt to raise funds for the local Relay for Life. Roberts said that is how the quilt came to be.
Wilkerson finished the quilt this past February. That's when Roberts began her crusade. "In March I bought 100 stamps and envelopes. I sent out 100 requests for donations to friends, family, church family members and others on the quilt and explained it would be given away at the Relay for Life in May at Thayer," she said.
The Shaw family of Thomasville, longtime family friends of the Robertses, were one of the families that received the letter. Nancy made a donation as requested and did not even know at the time there was a quilt involved.
Nancy will be taking the quilt to the OMC Foundation Office located on Washington Avenue in West Plains where it will be displayed.
The Shaw family has long been active in the development of OMC. Dusty's father, Roger D. Shaw, served on the OMC Board of Directors, as has Nancy Shaw. Dusty's and Nancy's son, Dr. Roger Shaw III, took Nancy's place on the board after 20 years in December of 2005.
The Oregon County Relay for Life Coalition Team raised more money than ever before with a total of $5,461.97. April Trantham was the team captain. The team graduated to gold. Roberts received a plaque for the woman raising the most funds for Relay for Life. She raised a total of $3,880. Overall the county collected $65,624.
"I would like to thank everyone who made donations to the American Cancer Society in the "Breast Cancer Hope" quilt giveaway. I thank the Shaws for their help in the fight against cancer. I thank my mother, who made the quilt, and the Oregon County Cancer Coalition Team. My recent experience with breast cancer has shown me the many areas that people can benefit from the American Cancer Society," Roberts said.
Roberts said through the funding of research by local Relays for Life like the one in Oregon County, the treatment of cancer has come a long way. Her grandmother, Nancy Emaline Dubois, died from breast cancer in 1944. She was 55. "She suffered because so little was known about how to treat it," Roberts said.
As for the Shaw family winning the quilt, Roberts summed up her feelings simply, "It's ironic the Shaws won the quilt after all the contributions they have made toward the cancer center at OMC. I couldn't have asked for a better ending."